1 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 28'48
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank +6
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep +7 (Full stage results when available)
That's right - climber Samuel Sanchez beat World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin in the closing time trial stage of the Tour of the Basque Country. And that means...
Overall General Classification
1 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 20h58'15"
2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha +12"
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank +42" (Full GC results when available)
...which is, quite frankly, an incredible result. The two small climbs turned out to be surfaced with rather poor condition tarmac were far harder than the stage profile suggested, with heavy rain not helping on the tricky descents. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) went into the stage with a 9" advantage after getting the better of the Euskaltel captain in Stage 5 and rode what may prove to be the best time trial of his life; however, while Sanchez has developed into an enormously talented all-rounder, Rodriguez remains very much a climber and his efforts simply couldn't deliver what he needed
Euskaltel-Euskadi has suffered very public financial problems in the last year. While acting as the Basque national team, the economic recession has hit Spain and Portugal hard, with the autonomous Basque Country also experiencing problems - and with the Basques obsessed by the sport, the loss of this team would be a greater tragedy than is normally the case when any other team vanishes. With luck, this result will prove sufficient to bring a new backer onboard.
There'll be a lot of patxaran drunk in Euskal Herria tonight - and Sammy deserves every toast.
Interesting Stuff: Sky race report Katusha report
Tour of the Basque Country: 1 (video) / 2 (video) / 3 (video) / 4 (video) / 5 (video) / 6